White and sometimes bubbly phlegm is usually present in an asthma attack or some other respiratory disease. It’s more important if you have an underlying respiratory issue or a history of respiratory problems in childhood. You can also observe more amounts of this coming out of your body after taking maintenance anti-asthma medication. Certain medications like Ventolin are designed the expel the phlegm out and put it out of your system.
A phlegm that’s gray in color is popular among smokers or those who have exposure to elements like coal. You also need to get a checkup for phlegm of this color to rule out infections or other complications.
Yellow or Green
According to the Wexner Medical Center of Ohio State University, these two colors indicate an infection in the body. On its own, it does not reveal much. But combining this symptom with other symptoms like fever, body chills, malaise, and sore throat may indicate a medical condition. Usually, the best way to determine for sure is by getting a checkup with a health practitioner in the soonest possible time.
Things get really serious with brown phlegm. It indicates a more severe problem in the lungs like pneumonia, cystic fibrosis, or bronchiectasis. This is especially true if it goes beyond the regular infection that is cured by oral antibiotics.
In some cases, you will need a greater medical intervention like a constant IV drip of antibiotics. If there are underlying conditions that lead to this issue, you need constant medical attention for a phlegm of this type.
Red or Pink
Infections can also sometimes cause red or pink phlegm due to fresh blood finding its way on your sputum. It also appears in some cases of cancer so medical interpretation is important for this type of phlegm. If you smoke or have other pre-existing habits that specifically puts your lungs at risk, seek medical help immediately.
Black phlegm is indicative of a fungal infection. It can also be seen in people who work in coal mines as the coal can get into their lungs.
Decoding phlegm colors is not a definitive diagnostic tool. You should always consult a doctor especially for the rarer colors of phlegm observed in your sputum or elsewhere. If you have a regular color of phlegm that suddenly changes, have yourself checked by a medical specialist. This will ensure that you can prevent developing more serious problems like chronic lung disease.